follow ridge to cliffs
Overview: After crossing an easement between housing developments, the trail enters the Coronado National Forest and climbs several hills to reach a saddle that terminates at the base of large red cliffs visible from Campbell Ave. Great unobstructed views of Pima Canyon and Tucson. Also possible to climb over the cliffs, to the East (toward Finger Rock), or descend to connect with Pima Canyon Trail.
Warning: Many loose rocks during initial half-mile, between housing developments. 40% grade to reach cliff base, also with many loose rocks.
History: Initial half-mile from N Campbell Ave parking lot to border with National Forest cleared by local volunteers in cooperation with Pima County Parks in 2014. Current route within Coronado National Forest marked with rock cairns. Suggestions for improvement and changes welcome.
Hike: Access from parking lot at the top of N Campbell Ave. Alternative access from wash within Sin Vacas gated community. Initial 0.5 miles follows an easement between Sin Vacas and Cobblestone developments, with chain-link fence on both sides. Lots of loose rock in this segment. After entering the National Forest, climbs several hills, with nice views over Tucson. Portions are steep (40%) with loose rock, but some areas stabilized. Eventually reaches West end of a saddle that fills the gap between tall red cliffs on both sides. Crossing the saddle provides panoramic 360-degree views of Pima Canyon and Tucson. After the final 40-degree climb, reaches the base of the large cliffs. There is also marked access to climb over the cliffs (North-most corner), and continue above (extension of trail above cliffs included on the official route). Generally requires 2 hours to climb. Majority of hike is within full sunlight. On return, it is possible to take a partial loop descent into the East wall of an adjacent canyon (overlooking Sin Vacas community, see GPS route. This is also marked with rock cairns, and rejoins the main trail after winding around to the East (this portion is shaded all morning).
Water Sources: Small wash with seasonal pools at entrance to National Forest.
Camping: Possible at flat portion of saddle overlooking Pima Canyon.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.